One student in particular is a very Type A personality, who insisted that the violent crime rate has been rising (I showed him the numbers from the FBI's UCR data and he dismissed it as "single source data"). He looked me dead in the eye and said, for the whole class to here, "Well, LIEUTENANT COLONEL Dave Grossman did EXTENSIVE RESEARCH and has CONCLUSIVELY PROVEN his point." His emphasis, not mine.
All I could do is say that the hypothesis does not fit the data, therefore the hypothesis must be abandoned. I am not a very persuasive speaker.
The problem with this particular Lieutenant and many of my fellow Captains is that they do not know how to use their brain to sniff out scientific bullshit.
Rank, accolades, or even a Ph.D does not make you right. Let us take a look at a few examples shall we?
THE MACHINE GUN WILL NEVER REPLACE THE HORSE AS AN INSTRUMENT OF WAR”. SIR DOUGLAS HAIG, COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF BRITISH EXPEDITIONARY FORCES
Or how about some of the crazier Nobel Laureates? http://www.cracked.com/article_18638_4-nobel-prize-winners-who-were-clearly-insane.html
Or Neville Chamberlains's "Peace in Our Time" proclamation? Or a Chicago Newspaper Editor who decided that Dewey won?
So I don't feel like a smartass for pointing out that Grossman has backed away from statistical data and is now using "anecdotal evidence" to sell his training products at killology.com. And I don't feel bad at all when I point out that someone's data doesn't back their premise. I have a much more detailed analysis to follow, but I wanted to vent my frustration that "argument from authority" seems to hold water among those who should know better.